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ii 111 I 


^tate Collese of Agriculture 

at Cornell ^Hnibetsitp 

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9 2008 



Library Bureau Cat, No, 1137 

nr- Ana oe°'"*" 'J"i™rsity Library 

pe theory and practice of color, 

3 1924 002 932 634 

Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 


A Symbol of the Rainbow 


c o 








Copyright, 1920 
By Bonnie E. Snow and Hugo B. Frobhuch 

Third Edition 

C^ ^.r/f / 


Up to the present time, the study of Color has been approached 
from three different angles: the angle of the physicist, the angle 
of the chemist and the angle of the painter or artist. The phys- 
icist has demonstrated that the sun is the source of all Color, 
and has unlocked for us the secrets of the Solar Spectrum. The chem- 
ist has found in certain clays, in plant and animal hfe and in bi-prod- 
ucts of coal,various symbols and substitutes for Color which he calls pig- 
ment, and which he combines in wonderful ways to make our dyes, paints 
and inks. The artist-painter has made use of the chemist's formulae in 
the instrument which he uses to portray his interpretation of nature, 
his marvelous flights of imagination and the depth of his insight into the 
human heart. But all three of these workers, indispensable as each one 
is to the growth and development of the world, have ignored the indi- 
vidual man and his needs. 

Though Hving in a world of Color, and forced by the nature of all 
created things to the daily and hourly use of Color, the average man is 
densely ignorant of any laws or principles which will guide him in its 
intelligent use. He has been saiHng in uncharted seas, and, as a result, 
he has often found himself upon the rocks of discordant and irritating 
Color combinations, in his home, in his dress and in his efforts to meet 
the demands of business advertising. 

Moreover, the enjoyment of Color, in itself as pure and exquisite 
a pleasure as the enjoyment of music, has been for him a sensation un- 
known. He has beheved that Color belongs to a mysterious realm, in- 
habited only by artists, geniuses and others who are "born to the pur- 
ple." He has been told that the appreciation of Color is a matter of 
feeling and emotion, and that if he does not naturally ' ' thrill ' ' to chords 
of Color struck by a master hand, then there is no way for him to acquire 
the abihty to enjoy Color and to understand its use, except through years 
of practice in the technical processes of so-called Art training. 

This book, with its Color Charts, is compiled for the purpose of 
discovering to the ordinary man the World of Color. The Charts are 
the keys that unlock a vast storehouse. The Charts, purely scientific as 
they are, will cause the doors of the storehouse to swing wide. All who 

will, may enter and carry away the priceless gems. Familiarity with 
the scientific basis of Color can never restrict the play of man's emo- 
tions, nor deaden his vibrations. Indeed, the more he knows about 
Color, the greater is his pleasure in using it. 

That the simple Theory herein expounded may be of service to stu- 
dents of all ages, who wish to know that they may more fully live, is the 
sincere desire of the authors 

Grateful acknowledgment is made to Mr. Frank Alvah Parsons, 
President of the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts, whose 
presentation of this Color Theory as fundamental in all Art training, first 
attracted the attention of the authors and suggested to them the simpli- 
fied series of Charts which appears in this book. 



The Preface 



Chapter I 

A World of Color 


Chapter II 

The Source of Color 


Chapter III 

The Primary Colors and Their Uses in Design 


Chapter IV 

The Binary Colors and How to Use Them 


Chapter V 

Color Values: Tints and Shades 


Chapter VI 

Complementary Colors and How to Use Them 


Chapter VII 

Neighboring or Analogous Colors 


Chapter VIII 

The Color Triad and the Spht Complement 


Chapter IX 

Color in Various Degrees of Intensity — or Grayed 



Chapter X 

The Psychology of Color 


Chapter XI 

Color Harmonies in Costume 


Chapter XII 

Color Harmonies in Interior Decoration^ 


Chapter XIII 

Color in Commercial Design 



Facing page 

Frontispiece — ^A Symbol of the Rainbow . 3 

Value Chart of Neutral Gray and Two Colors (Hand Painted) .... 9 

Figure I — ^A device for Locating Complementary Colors 24 

Figure II — A device for Locating a Triad of Colors 28 

Figure III — A device for Locating a Split Complement 30 

Chart I — Primary Colors (Hand Painted) 16 

Chart II — Binary Colors (Hand Painted) 18 

Chart III — Normal Colors and Tints (Hand Painted) 20 

Chart IV — Normal Colors, Tints and Shades (Hand Painted) 22 

Chart V — Complementary and Neutral Gray (Hand Painted) .... 24 

Chart VI — Primary Colors, Binary Colors, Hues and Analogous 

Color Schemes (Hand Painted) 26 

Chart VII — Colors in FuU Intensity and Grayed Colors (Hand 

Painted) 32 

Chart VIII — Colors in One-Half and One-Fourth Intensities. Mon- 
ochromatic Color Schemes. Analogous Color Schemes. 
Complementary Color Schemes. (Hand Painted) . . 36 

Blue Green 


Red Orange 

H L Hi^h Li^ht H L 

H D Hi^h Dark H D 

L D Low Dark 







Chapter I 

IN this world we are surrounded by Color. Every object that we 
see, of any kind, in any place, has Color. It is the one great dis- 
tinguishing factor which enables us to separate in our vision one 
object from another. When the darkness of night descends upon 
our world and the light of the moon and the stars is obscured by storm 
clouds, we grope about blindly. We cannot see objects which we know 
are in the old familiar places, because their color is hidden from us by 
the dark. 

We look from the window, and we see a kaleidoscopic array of color 
shapes. There are people on the streets; trees and buildings rising 
against the sky; patches of blue above the clouds; ascending columns of 
smoke and steam; there are housetops and chimneys; waving flags and 
banners; street cars, automobiles, sign boards and shop windows; all, all 
are playing their part in the great color orchestration. 

We look about the room in which we sit. Every object and element 
in it possesses the quality of color. The floor, if of wood, is perhaps a 
tone of gray orange, which we commonly call brown. The "trim" of 
the room may be chestnut, or polished mahogany or painted pine. What- 
ever its finish or tone, it has Color. The walls are of rough plaster, or 
they are calcimined or papered. They, too, possess the inevitable quality 
of Color. The curtains, the window shades, even the glass of the panes 
have Color. The rugs and hangings we have long been accustomed to 
think of as Color notes, but they possess Color no more, though of dif- 
ferent quality, than do the structural elements of the room. If in our 
room all of these color elements are combined intelligently, the effect is 

harmonious and restful. If they are used thoughtlessly or in ignorance, 
we are unsatisfied, and we wonder why some rooms are so much more 
beautiful than others. Beauty is never the result of mere outlay or ex- 
pense. It depends on knowledge of the laws of Color, either intuitive, 
or consciously acquired. 

So fundamental is the element of Color that we cannot escape its 
use, even if we would. No part of the costume of a human being can 
be separated from Color. The hat, the coat, the shoes of the laborer are 
as full of Color as the miUinery, the velvet and the costly furs of the lady 
of wealth. But the peasant may be as beautiful in his costume, as the 
prince is in his, if only his colors sing in tune, and the lines of his costume 
are in structural harmony with his figure. 

Since in this, our world, we are compelled to see Color, to use Col- 
or, and to live Color, why should we not extract the fullest enjoyment 
from Color? Our bodies are nourished by food. We expend much time 
and money in the efforts to make that food palatable. Color feeds the 
senses, the emotions and that all-important and aU-controlUng factor of 
our being, the spirit. Why, then, shall we not feast oiu" eyes on the 
beauty of color in its endless phases of delight, as we have learned to 
feast our ears upon that harmony of sounds which we call music? 

Color is a language through which man expresses his thoughts and ideas, 
his feehngs and aspirations. We say that a painter expresses himself 
on canvas; that he "interprets" Nature to us, or shows us through 
the use of his pigments his moods, his spiritual insight into character 
and his visions. But it rarely occurs to us that we also express ourselves 
through Color. Our houses, our clothes, our offices, our shops and fac- 
tories, our streets and gardens, our schoolrooms, our surroundings and 
perquisites everywhere proclaim us. We cannot prevent this inevitable 
advertisement. What we choose and buy and wear and use teUs with 
brutal frankness what we are. 

Since Color is so universal a language which we cannot choose but 
speak, it behooves us to speak it beautifully. The educated Anaerican is 
known by the quality of his "Enghsh." Our ears are trained to detect 
grammatical errors. If a person is guilty of such a lapse as "Between 
you and I," or "He done well" he is instantly classified as ignorant of the 
usage of correct speech. But thousands of people, otherwise educated. 


commit just as glaring errors in the grammar of Color; for there are 
laws which govern the various combinations and relationship of Color, 
just as there are laws that govern the combinations and relationships of 
words. In our former teaching, we were accustomed to think of Color 
relationships as being governed by feeling, or taste, or some other heav- 
en-sent intuition. But now we know that color relationships can be 
taught, as definitely as we teach the rules of grammar. Those gifted 
with a Color sense will still possess advantage over the average individual, 
but in the light of Color knowledge, the average individual can be kept 
from creating and tolerating discords, and through instruction can be- 
come a living example of Color harmonies. 

In man's more intimate life, as well as in his business environment, 
the relationships of Color play no mean part in influencing his nature. 
Consciously or unconsciously he is affected by his surroundings. That 
mysterious quaUty which we call "atmosphere" is very largely a ques- 
tion of Color adjustments, and it is a matter of immense importance 
whether the atmosphere with which one is surrounded is discordant and 
jarring or serene and restful. 

The civilization in which we find ourselves today is ceaselessly open- 
ing new fields of activities in industry, in commerce and in education 
where a thorough training of the color sense and a knowledge of Color 
in its various relationships are positively essential. 

In the future, America must manufacture from the raw products 
her own dyestuffs, paints and pigments. Her industrial workers, her 
chemists, her manufacturers, her hthographers, printers and colorists of 
every kind and calling must be trained in the understanding and the use 
of Color. Already, under the pressure of these times, the American 
chemist has risen to the need of the hour and has produced a range of 
commercial Colors, in dyes, inks and various pigments which will forever 
establish his ability to solve for his country the problems of Color manu- 
facture. These are considerations quite apart from the training of the 
aesthetic sense, in all individuals. The aim and desire of a higher stand- 
ard of life, industrially, commercially, educationally and spiritually 
cannot be realized without a knowledge of that subtle medium. Color, 
with which we are always and everywhere surrounded. 

In the effort to place the teaching of Color upon a scientific and ped- 


agogical basis, the simplest and most easily used theory has been adopted, 
in this book. So far as individual students of mature mind and judg- 
ment are concerned it seems to be a matter of small importance whether 
the Brewster theory, the Rood theory, the Munsell theory, the Ross the- 
ory, or any other theory is used, in the effort to clarify, systemize and 
make definite one's ideas of Color. The essential thing is that the work- 
er adopt a theory that is to him workable and satisfactory. It is nec- 
essary for the worker to think about Color intellectually, as well as to 
feel it emotionally; to be able to give reasons for the use of his combina- 
tions of Color. He should arrive at a thoughtful appreciation of Color 
harmony, as well as at an esthetic enjoyment of Color. In the case of the 
average human being, not gifted with a special Color sense, it is im- 
perative that he be given a Chart to sail by, rather than be left to the 
accident of choices which he is compelled to make from the vast ocean 
of Color in which he finds himself. We should acknowledge that there 
is a science of Color just as there is a science of Music. While in Color 
the cultivated eye must be the final test, as the cultivated ear is the final 
test in Music, still the results obtained should not violate well defined 
Color principles, and these principles should be so simply presented that 
everybody can understand and use them. 

Behef in a Color theory and the use of a Color Chart are means and 
aids to the attainment of beauty. When American industry appreciates 
the commercial value of beauty in the manufactured products, our coun- 
try will stand a chance of winning commercial supremacy in the mark- 
ets of the world. 


Chapter II 

IN physics we analyze a ray of light; we separate it into its com- 
ponent parts; we discover the laws of transmission, refraction, reflec- 
tion; we determine the wave lengths of different Colors and the 
effects of different Colors upon the retina of the eye. Such study 
is purely physical, and has to do with the wonderful properties of Light, 
the source of all Color. The results of such study are of great scientific 
value, but they contribute veryhttle to the cultivation of the Color 
sense. The physicist's aims are purely scientific. He tells us that a ray of 
sunhght separated by means of a spectroscope into its component parts, 
shows red, green and blue-purple as the three elements which in various 
combinations produce all other colors. But the artist, the designer, the 
maker of dye stuffs and other coloring matter cannot make use of these 
physical elements of Color. The artist, the designer, the decorator, the 
printer, the dyer, the house painter, the teacher, the pupil, the citizen is 
dependent for Color expression not on rays of light but upon pigments. 
Pigments are symbols of Color. They are Color representations, and 
their combinations produce results that differ in many particulars from 
the combinations of different rays of Colors secured from Light. 

Pigment is obtained from various sources. As in the days of the 
Egyptians, we must still go to Mother Earth for our most important and 
permanent Colors, such as yellow ochre, raw sienna, the umbers, Vandyke 
brown, cobalt, ultra-marine, cadmium and white. From the animal king- 
dom we derive our carmine, crimson lake, purple lake, Indian purple, 
sepia and other colors. Vegetables and plants are the sources of gam- 
boge, indigo, and the family of madders. In the early days the master 
dyer and painter made his own colors, and he worked with a limited 
palette. He himself, or his apprentice, ground all the colors that he 
required. In fact, apprenticeship began with color grinding . Gradually 
the palette of the painter was increased by the addition of other pig- 
ments, discovered by various masters. In time the manufacture of colors 


became a specialized occupation, a distinct profession, until today we 
find it a vast Color industry, of immense commercial importance. 

The physicist, as we have said, in his investigations goes to the 
source of all Color, the white light of the sun. He finds that a ray of 
white light when passed through a glass prism and thrown upon a wall 
or screen, produces a band of Color hke a rainbow. He calls this band 
the spectrum. These spectrum colors he uses in all of his experiments and 
deductions. He is not concerned if combinations of pigments do not 
bear out the truths that he discovers in dealing with the spectrum Colors 
themselves. The artist and the industrial worker, however, must deal 
with pigments and with those principles and formulae that concern them. 
It does not matter to the makers of dyes if, as the physicist says, red light 
and green light in mixture produce yellow light, when they find by ex- 
periment that red pigment and green pigment in mixture produce gray. 
No matter what the spectroscope may demonstrate regarding the com- 
bination of yellow rays of hght and blue rays of light, the fact remains 
that yellow pigment mixed with the blue pigment produces green pigment. 
Similarly regardless of the spectroscope, blue pigment mixed mth red 
pigment produces violet pigment. 

Shall we teach a false color theory? By no means! Let us teach 
a theory that can be proved through the use of pigments in the Color 
world in which we live. Let us seek for a clearer understanding of the 
truth, and harmonize our teaching with the truth. With our Color 
theories and our Color Charts we wdsh to lead the people to an appre- 
ciation of fine Color. Our pubhc schools should be responsible for teaching 
a certain amount of definite Color knowledge and this knowledge should 
influence the people in the choices they will inevitably make of Colors 
in costumes, house-furnishings and in commercial commodities. It 
will be useful for the common people to know that certain combinations 
of Color ciin be depended upon to produce beauty and that other com- 
binations should be avoided, because they result in discord. The so-called 
Red, Yellow and Blue theory seems the simplest, the most widely used 
and understood, and the most practical for educational and general pur- 
poses that has yet been devised. In the explanations and demonstrations 
which follow, let it be borne in mind that pigments are the media em- 
ployed and that it is the intelligent use of pigments in their manifold 
forms that will best develop Color appreciation. 


Chapter III 

THE prismatic band, or spectrum, has been symbolized by a beau- 
tiful rhythm of painted colors, beginning with red, and passing 
through successive steps of orange, yellow, green and blue to 
red- violet. (See frontispiece). In the rainbow or prismatic 
group itself some of these Color tones are missing. 

Among these is the pure, typical red, which leans neither to orange 
nor to violet. In the color charts in this volume we have represented the 
Colors of the spectrum and also the missing steps in the complete circuit 
of Color tones. In deahng thus with pigments we find that there are 
three Colors which are the basis of all other colors, and that these three 
are yellow, red and blue. These Colors are in themselves elements and 
,cannot be produced by mixture. Therefore we call them Primary 

In studying the relationship of the different tones in our scale of Col- 
ors, it has been found convenient to arrange them in a circle, the first 
elements of which are shown in Chart I. Here the three pigment pri- 
maries, yellow, red and blue, appear in their greatest strength or in- 
tensity. They are therefor© called normal yellow, normal red, normal 
blue, because they are unmodified and undiluted. 

The three Primary Colors in their full intensity, differing so widely 
in their tone and quaUty, are instantly recognized by little children 
who start with them as the first steps in the acquirement of definite 
Color knowledge. Many interesting exercises may be planned to vitalize 
and make practical the purely scientific facts presented. Children are 
trained to avoid the use of two primaries (as red and yellow, red and 
blue, blue and yellow) in any exercise or arrangement involving the 
decorative use of Color. 

They are taught to combine any one of the Primaries in its full 
intensity with a neutral — that is, with black or white or gray, or with a 
combination of all or any two of these neutral tones. In the first prob- 


lems of elementary design, the children may print with sticks, making 
many border designs and surface patterns by the repetition of some simple 
geometric shape, printed in yellow, red or blue, on white or light gray 
paper. If opaque Colors are available, shapes of white or yellow may 
be printed upon black paper. Cut paper shapes of black, white or gray 
may be pasted upon yellow, red or blue backgrounds, or the order may 
be reversed, and the bright shapes of paper may be arranged upon back- 
grounds of the neutral tones. Black and white checked ginghams may 
be printed with shapes of a Primary Color, and these interesting patterns 
made up into bags, holders and other useful articles. The costumes of 
paper dolls may show combinations of a neutral with a Primary, — a blue 
dress may be trimmed with white, a gray coat with red, or a black cap 
with red or yellow. With children who are beginning this definite study 
of Color, it is well to limit the decorative use of Color to the group pre- 
sented in the Chart at a particular stage, for only by working within 
limitations will invention be stimulated. Thus will our courageous and 
intelhgent use of Color begin. We shall not hesitate to use bright Color 
when we know what combinations to make and how to balance intense 
tones of color by judicious combination with neutral ones. 










Chapter IV 

IF we start with the three Primary pigments, yellow, red and blue as a 
basis, we have a foundation for all other color tones that can be pro- 
duced by mixture. The simplest ratio of combination is to mix 
equal parts of any two primaries, producing in this way, by each 
mixture, a third color, which we call a binary Color. There are three 
Binary Colors, orange, green and violet, which are produced as follows: 
Equal parts of yellow and red in mixture, produce the Binary orange; 
equal parts of yeUow and blue, in mixture, produce the Binary green; 
and equal parts of red and the blue, in mixture, produce the Binary 

Chart No. II shows the Binary Colors orange, green and violet 
placed so that each Binary is seen between its two constituent Primary 

An interesting way of demonstrating these scientific facts of Color 
mixtures, especially before a class, is to prepare before hand solutions of 
the Primary Colors in comparatively large quantities, mixing them in 
pairs as follows: dissolve in each of three glasses of water two hard 
cakes of Water Color, — ^yellow in one glass, red in another and blue in 
the third. These cakes should soak over night. In the morning stir 
each fluid with a clean spoon or stick. The solutions wiQ then be ready 
for use. They wiQ appear in the glasses at their normal tones, or in full 
intensity, as we say. In a fourth glass, pour about a quarter of the solu- 
tion of yellow, and the same amount of red solution. The results will be 
orange. In a fifth glass pour equal amounts of yellow and blue. The 
result will be green. In a sixth glass pour equal amounts of red and 
blue. The result will be violet. 

Beginners of aU ages will find the mixing and spreading of these 
Color tones a great aid to the understanding of Colors and their rela- 
tionships. Even children in primary grades can be taught to mix and 
Spread all of the Color washes presented in Charts I, II, and III 


The duplication of these Charts is strongly recommended. In no 
other way can Color experience be so definitely gained. Even if the 
Color standards shown in the Charts are not reached, the effort to ' ' meas- 
ure up " to them is of great value. Water Colors, either transparent or 
opaque, are the best medium for chart making. Where the mixing of 
Colors is not practicable, colored paper may be employed for the teach- 
ing of the theory of Color; but color experience can only be gained 
through the actual process of mixing and spreading the various Color 
tones in the charts. The simpler and more easily recognized tones are 
found in the first five Charts. After that, the new Colors presented are 
more subtle and therefore more difficult to mix. 

In decorative design the Binary mixture opens up to us a rich field 
of Co' or. Any Color with two component parts is more interesting than 
a purely elemental or Primary Color. For instance, orange is a color 
of greater decorative value than either yellow or red; green has more 
"quality" than either blue or yellow; and violet is distinctly more inter- 
esting than either red or blue. 

The Binary colors, Uke the Primaries, can be effectively combined 
with any or aU of the neutral tones, white, black or gray. In schools 
where Color is taught definitely, the decorative use of Color in the sec- 
ond grade is confined to the Primaries and the Binaries, in their normal 
tones, combined with one or more neutral. Combinations of the Binar- 
ies should not at this time be permitted, nor combinations of a Primary 
and a Binary. When at a later stage of the development of Color study, 
the idea of Complementary Colors and the theory of complementary har- 
monies are presented, combinations of Primaries and Binaries may be 
made. But as everything depends for Color harmony upon how these 
Colors are used, it is best to limit Color combinations, in elementary 
problems, to the use of any one of the six Colors already presented with 
one or more neutral tones. 










Chapter V 

ONE of the advantages of a definite knowledge of Color, gained 
through the study and analysis of Color Charts, is the abihty to 
classify and name all the different Color tones that we see about 
us, in flowers, in the landscape, in materials of all kinds and 
in dyes, paints, inks and other forms of pigment. To give each Color 
tone its place and name, we must understand the various properties or 
qualities of Color. In the study of grammar we first learn to identify the 
different parts of speech, such as nouns, verbs and adjectives. So, in 
the study of Color, we must first be able to identify the different Color 
tones of the Chromatic Circle. After that, we are ready to investigate 
the different forms, or manifestations, of each Color. Color is strangely 
like language, in its different forms and shades of meaning. It has dif- 
ferent quahfiers and modifiers. One of these quahfiers is known as Value. 
We should understand clearly what this means. 

We have already learned that the Colors in the Chromatic Circle, 
as shown in the Charts, are seen in their full strength or intensity. But 
in the world about us we often see any one of these colors in fighter and 
in darker tones. We can easily recall a large family of blues, reds, greens 
and all the other colors, ranging from very pale to very dark tones. This 
quahty of Hghtness or darkness is what we mean by Value. If I say to 
you "I shall wear a blue dress tomorrow," you do not know whether I 
" mean a Ught blue, a dark blue or a normal blue dress. But if I say, 
"I shall wear a dark blue dress tomorrow," you immediately form an 
idea of what I mean. But you do not know just how dark my dress will 
be, for there are many degrees of dark, in blue. It is often necessary to 
state how dark or how fight a certain Color tone is. To help us do this, 
a scale of values has been prepared, each ^tep in the scale having its 
own particular name, just as in the scale of music we have the notes or 
tones do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si, do. The middle scale of values facing 
Page 9 is expressed only in grays, and is known as the Neutral Value 


Scale, but it would be possible to show the same gradation of tints and 
shades of any Color, ranging from the palest tint you can imagine to the 
deepest shade. The palest tint would be nearest white, and the dark- 
est shade nearest black. 

Black and white, in mixtures, give us neutral grays, — that is, the 
grays that show no tinge of color. If to white we add a touch of black, 
we shall produce a very Hght tint of gray. If we add more black we 
shall produce a darker gray. Between white and black there is an infinite 
number of steps or degrees of gray. It is impossible to show them aU, 
so a scale of seven steps has been adopted as the standard or symbol for 
aU the grays between white and black. Beginning with white, these 
steps have been named, just as we have named the steps in the musical 
scale. (Facing Page 9.) 

"Middle" is found half way between white and black. 
"Light" is between "Middle "and White. 
"Low Light" is between "Middle" and "Light" 
"High Light" is between "Light" and White. 
"Dark" is between "Middle" and Black. 
"Low Dark" between "Dark" and Black. 
"High Dark" is between "Dark" and "Middle". 

When we wish to classify and name the Value of a color tone, we 
may do so by comparing the lightness or darkness of that Color with a 
step in the Neutral Value Scale. We can say Red at High Light, if we 
mean a pale tone of red, or Red at High Dark, if we mean a tone of red 
that is a little darker than the normal. In this way we can locate the 
lightness or darkness of any Color tone. 

In the Value Scale shown facing page 9, two colors, blue-green and 
red-orange, are arranged in graded tones on either side of the Neutral 
Scale. Observe that both of these colors show their full intensities at 
Middle Value. There are other colors, however, whose full intensities 
would be located at different degrees of the Value Scale, for aU colors at 
full intensity (as seen in the Chromatic Circle) are not of the same value. 
For example, yellow at full intensity is much lighter in value than blue 
or red in full intensity. Of all colors, yellow is the lightest in value and 
violet is the darkest. Yellow at full intensity is at High Light in value 
and violet at full intensity is at Low Dark. Lighter tints of yellow 















would, therefore, pass out of the range of the scale of Neutral Values 
which is shown (facing page 9). Of course, the number of steps in any 
Value Scale could be infinitely increased, as a color "travels" toward 
white or black, and new terms could be added to indicate any degree of 
lightness or darkness presented by a color tone. 

In ordinary usage, however, we speak of the Values of Color as 
Tints and Shades of that Color. Any tone of red, for example, that is 
lighter than normal red, is a Tint of red. Any tone of red that is darker 
than the normal is a Shade of red. People are often careless in their use 
of the terms Tint and Shade. They frequently speak of hght shades of 
a color when they really mean Tints. The term "Tone" includes all 
Tints, Shades and the Normal of a Color. Therefore, it would be proper 
to speak of many Tones of blue, for instance, ranging from pale blue to 
dark blue, when the word "Shades" used in this sense would be incor- 

Tints are made by the addition of white (or in Water Color by the 
addition of water) to a normal tone of Color. Shades are made by the 
addition of black to the normal tone. Chart No. Ill shows the six lead- 
ing Colors, and below the circle are given the Normal and two Tints of 
orange and blue. Chart No. IV shows under the circle a Normal, a 
Tint and a Shade of two Colors, yellow and blue. 

The idea of Tints and Shades may be demonstrated before a class by 
using the Color solutions in glasses before referred to. In an empty glass, 
pour a httle of the strong red, yellow or blue solution. Add water to 
this, until a distinctly lighter tone is observed. Add more water for still 
lighter Tints. This experiment can be carried as far as desired, until no 
Color is discernible in the water. Into another empty glass pour a little 
of the normal solution. Add a little black (made by dissolving two hard 
cakes in water). This fusion of black with the normal will result in a 
Shade of the Color. Add more black in the same glass or in another 
glass untU a number of Shades of the Color are produced. 

The making of Tints and Shades of the Primary and Binary colors 
through the use of Water Color washes is not too difficult for pupils in 
third and fourth grades. There are many interesting exercises involving 
the use of different Color values which may be presented to young stu- 
dents. It is recommended that in grades when a definite study is made 



of these Color qualities, the employment of Colors for decorative pur- 
poses should be hmited to the Primaries and Binaries with their Tints 
and Shades, in combination with the neutrals. Limitations stimulate 
invention and intensify emphasis upon certain specific points. 

Interesting landscape effects may be obtained by the use of light and 
dark values of a single color. A pale sky, a foreground of middle value, 
suggesting a field or a hillside, with tree shapes in dark value rising 
against the Hght sky, would be effective in neutral grays, in blues, in 
greens, or in any other color. The various tints and shades of colored 
papers which are now available offer a fine medium for such arrange- 
ments. The same design or composition can be carried out in a variety 
of different arrangements of values, and the difference in effects observed. 
An understanding of the different results produced by the use of strong 
contrasts of value, by the use of values that are closely related, and by the 
use of different colors of the same or of widely different values is most 
necessary to success in Design. 













Chapter VI 

THE Primary and Binary Colors as they appear in Charts II to 
V, are often spoken of as the six leading Colors, because in their 
individual tones they express the principal steps or stages in the 
passage of Colors around the Chromatic Circle. 
These leading Colors have different relationships to each other, 
just as a verb in a sentence has a certain relationship to a noun and 
another relationship to an adverb. We shall speak first about the re- 
lationship which Complementary Colors bear to each other. 

The three Binaries, orange, green and violet, are each made by com- 
bining equal portions of two Primaries. Orange, for example, is made 
up of equal parts of yellow and red. In orange, therefore, one of the ele- 
ments of color is lacking — the element of blue. Blue is the one thing 
needed by orange to complete the Color circuit. Blue is therefore said 
to be Complementary to orange. Again, violet is made up of equal parts 
of red and blue. The Color element lacking in violet is yellow. There- 
fore, violet and yellow are Complementary to each other. Green being 
made of a combination of equal parts of blue and yellow, needs red to 
complete the circuit. Therefore, in these pigment combinations, red and 
green are Complementary to each other. 

Complementary Colors are in the strongest possible contrast to each 
other. You cannot think of a Color more different from orange than 
blue. They have nothing in common. They are as unlike as it is pos- 
sible for Colors to be. Yet they have the peculiar power to enhance or 
enrich each other, when placed near together. An orange sky, at sunset, 
will "force" the blue of a distant building or of far hills; a red apple looks 
redder when it nestles among the green leaves of the tree, and a violet 
hat is intensified in color if a yellow rose is placed upon it. You have 
doubtless tried the experiment of gazing intently at a circle of strong red 
Color, placed against a white background. If you suddenly remove the 
red circle and still continue to gaze at the white background, a green 


circle will appear. The eye will supply the. complement to the Color 
that so filled it a moment before. Thus it is demonstrated that certain 
Colors seem to call for or demand certain other Colors. The study of 
these relationships is intensely interesting, and a knowledge of the influ- 
ence of one Color upon another can be made of much practical value. 

In the Color Circle shown in all the Charts except Chart No, I, the 
Colors are so arranged that Complementary pairs appear at opposite 
ends of the same diameters. In Chart V, for example, yellow is dia- 
metrically opposite violet; orange is opposite blue, and green is opposite 
red. Through this arrangement in this and in the Charts that follow, it 
is easy to select the various Complementary pairs. 

Though when placed near together. Complementary Colors possess 
the power of enriching each other, in mixture the effect of their com- 
bination is the opposite. If into an empty glass we pour an equal 
amount of orange solution and blue solution, the tone produced is neither 
orange nor blue, but gray, — Neutral Gray! The same is true in mix- 
tures of equal parts of yellow and violet, and of red and green. This 
explains the presence on Chart V. of the central circle of Neutral Gray. 
Observe that this Neutral Gray circle is half way between all the pairs 
of Complementary Colors that are shown. It means that equal portions 
of two colors that are Complementary to each other, will, in mixture, 
completely neutralize each other. 

In our work we can utilize this scientific fact, in a variety of ways. 
If equal parts of a Complementary pair of Colors will produce Neutral 
Gray, a smaller proportion of one Color would soften or "gray" the 
other. For example, if we wish to reduce the brightness or intensity of a 
green tone, in paint, we add a little red, and the desired effect is gained. 
Similarly, we soften or "gray" a too brilliant red, by adding a little of 
its complement, green. The rectangle of gray-red in Chart V was pro- 
duced in this way. So were the other rectangles, labelled respectively 
gray green, gray yellow, gray violet, gray blue and gray orange. Each 
"grayed" Color was produced by adding a bit of its Complement. 

At this stage of the definite study of Color, students may be per- 
mitted to use Complementary colors in decorative arrangements. If 
normal tones of orange and blue, violet and yellow, or red and green are 
used, it should be in small quantities, upon backgrounds of black, white 






+HIH =H^| IIIH + 


















X "„w.-'*-= 












or gray, or in some other form of combination with the neutral tones. In 
the popular stick printed designs upon black, white or gray paper, the 
full strength of Complementary Colors may be used, for stick printing 
is limited to the use of small spots of Color, and these can be perfectly 
balanced by the judicious use of Neutrals. In our costumes, however, 
nothing could be more hideous than glaring combinations, in large quan- 
tities, of these Complementary pairs, A red waist with a skirt of normal 
green, a blue suit with a superabundance of orange trimming, or a velvet 
wrap of normal violet with yellow fur trimming would offend the re- 
fined taste, and render the wearer uncomfortably conspicuous. As in 
everything else, a little Color knowledge is a dangerous thing. We 
should "play safe" until we have gained, through experience, the knowl- 
edge that will develop judgment and that will also develop that mys- 
terious but highly important quality which we caU taste. 

A simple device for locating Complementary pairs of Colors is 
shown in Fig. 1. A pointer has been cut of thin cardboard and attached 
by a thumb-tack to the center of the Color Chart. This pointer turns 
easily on its pivot and its ends indicate the different pairs of Colors that 
are complementary to each other. 


Chapter VII 

WE can see that each of the six leading Colors — the three Pri- 
maries and the three Binaries — ^possess a strongly individual 
Color characteristic. It is easy for nearly everyone to dis- 
tinguish yellow from orange, orange from red, and red from 
violet, etc. 

This distinguishing Color quaUty is, Uke Value, one of the essential 
properties or quaUties of Color. We speak of it as Hue. It is Hue that 
makes yellow distinguishable from orange, or that enables one to distin- 
guish blue from green. We know that in the world about us there are 
many Hues that are not shown in our Charts. Let us see if we can find 
out how to classify and name these different Colors, just as we discov- 
ered in Chapter Five how to classify and name the different values of 

Chart VI shows six more Colors than have been given in the five 
preceding Charts. You will notice that each of these new Colors is 
placed between a Primary and a Binary, in the Chart. You can guess 
how the new Color is made. Equal parts of the Primary Color (as for 
example, yellow), and the binary color (as orange), have been mixed 
to produce the new Color, or Hue (for example, yellow-orange). In 
this way were formed all of the new Hues that appear in the Chart. 
They are named yellow-orange, red-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue- 
green and yeUow-green. 

In actual practice, there is a much more convenient way of mixing 
the different Hues of Color. This is suggested by the Color "equations," 
given below the Chromatic Circle in Chart VI. Imagine that each Pri- 
mary Color circle in the Chart is made up of four equal parts. If we take 
three parts of yellow and one part of red, we shall produce the same re- 
sult that we found in mixing equal parts of orange and yellow, — ^yellow- 
orange. If we take three parts of red and one part of yellow, the result 
will be red-orange. Three parts of red and one part of blue make red- 


violet. Three parts of blue and one part of yellow make blue-green. 
Three parts of yellow and one part of blue make yellow-green. These 
Hues are named from the Primary Color that dominates them. The 
actual mixing and spreading of these different Hues of Color is highly es- 
sential to a thorough understanding of their origin and of their relation- 

All of these facts about Color, interesting as they are, will be of 
small service to us unless we use them. That is what all knowledge is 
for, — to be used ! Let us see how these new and beautiful Hues of Color 
can be made helpful, in enriching our Color vocabulary and in mak- 
ing that vocabulary express our ideas of beautiful Color combinations. 

When a certain Color is present in each of several Hues, as, for ex- 
ample, yellow is present in yellow-orange, orange in red-orange, there is a 
certain relationship established, just as exists between brothers and sisters 
of the same family. Yellow is a "blood relation" of any other Color that 
contains yellow. It is not a "blood relation" of red or blue. Yellow, red 
and blue are the founders of three separate and distinct families, and 
they, themselves, have nothing in common. We call those Colors that 
contain a common element analogous. In the Chart, analogous colors 
are placed as neighbors in the circle. Because of this position, they are 
sometimes called "neighboring" or analogous Colors, and this, also, ex- 
presses their relationship, or harmony in a way that we can all under- 

Since a common element in each group of Colors can be depended 
upon to produce harmony we are safe in choosing Analogous or Neigh- 
boring Colors for a Color scheme. This explains the reason for the ver- 
tical rows of Colors, under the Caption "Analogous Color Schemes," in 
Chart VI. Yellow, yellow-orange and orange, in full intensity, are 
given, as a scheme that may be safely used, in places where such briUiant 
coloring is appropriate; always remembering the balance that must be 
kept by using these intense Colors with a proper amount of neutral white, 
black or gray. The scheme of these same Colors, grayed, is fully as beau- 
tiful, but in a quite different way. We could use the grayed Colors in 
much larger quantities, as in room furnishings or costumes, and feel 
that we had not offended good taste. The same is true of the other two 
groups of Analogous Colors given in the Chart. Intense red, red-violet 


and violet suggests a rich and gorgeous scheme for certain decorative pur- 
poses. A bed of dahUas shows us these same colorings. Plucked from 
their parent stalks and arranged in a vase that continues or completes the 
wonderful harmony, their decorative value in a room is enormous. But 
who would think of hanging bright red curtains in a room with red-violet 
walls, and placing in that same room a rug of intense violet on the floor? 
The grayed scheme of violets, however, suggest charming effects for 
costumes or furnishings. 

It is interesting to know that these grayed effects are produced by 
adding to each Color a little of its complement. In the last chapter we 
learned that each Primary had its Complement in a Binary, and that 
these pairs, in mixture, neutrahzed or grayed each other. In this larger 
Chromatic Circle (Chart VI) each Color has also its Complement, found 
at the opposite end of the same diameter. For example, blue-violet 
is the complement of yeUow-orange; yellow-green is the complement 
of red- violet; and red-orange is the complement of blue-green. 

While to produce grayed Color the law of adding to any Color a 
touch of its Complement holds good invariably, the designer in common 
practice, usually adds black to any Color which he wishes to gray. This 
is a "short cut" which in the decorative use of Color it is quite legiti- 
mate to employ. 
































+ j 

+ I 





Chapter VIII 

A COLOR SCHEME is a group of Colors harmoniously related 
to each other, and which is suitable for use in a design or in 
materials of any kind. Nature furnishes us with innumerable 
combinations and groups of Colors, often of wonderful interest 
and beauty. But the conditions under which these combinations are used 
in Nature are not the conditions that we are under when we try to fur- 
nish a room or plan a costume. Therefore, a blind or purely imitative 
following of Nature's schemes will often lead us to disaster, in our appli- 
cations or uses of Color. 

The chief value of employing a Color Chart in determining Color 
schemes is that this practice makes us think about Color. It is not 
enough to "feel" the beauty of certain Color combinations; we must 
think as well as feel, and be able to give reasons for our Color sensa- 
tions. The more we think about Color the greater wiU be the develop- 
ment of our Color sense, and the more wUl we be able to enjoy the feel- 
ing and emotions that are produced in us by Color. 

Through our study of the Chromatic Circle we now understand that 
there are several distinct ways of combining Colors, each of which can 
be depended upon to produce beauty. We have learned, in the first 
place, that two Primary Colors should not be determined, but that any 
one Primary in any degree of intensity, may be combined with black, 
white or with any mixture of black and white, — ^in other words, with 
Neutral gray. This is the simplest Color scheming that we know. 

We next found that any one Color was capable of an infinite num- 
ber of Values, and that any two or more Values of a Color could be safely 
used together. Such a group is called a self-toned or Monochromatic 
scheme. It is always safe, always unobtrusive, never as interesting as 
groups that contain two or more colors. From Tints and Shades or 
Values of Color we take the next and vastly more significant step to the 


use of Complementary Color schemes, which is the attainment of har- 
mony through urJikeness, or contrast. 

When we use a pair of Complementary Colors, in any Value or in- 
tensity, we really combine portions of the three Color elements, yellow, 
red and blue. In combining blue and orange, for instance, we have one 
element, alone, in blue, and the two other elements, yeUow and red, in 
orange. The same is true of violet and yeUow, of red and green, and 
of aU the other pairs of Complementary Colors. 

It is true that the eye is better satisfied with a group of Colors that 
shows, in some degree, all of the Color elements. In our Color sensa- 
tions, the presence of all three elements seems to complete the Color cir- 
cuit. Why this is true, we cannot explain. It must be accepted as a 

There are other ways of arriving at a combination of the three Color 
elements in a group. One of these is through the use of a Color "triad." 
A triad is a union or group of three, and is a term that we have borrowed 
from the nomenclature of music. We cannot take, at random, any selec- 
tion of three Colors from the Chart ; the Colors of our choice must be at 
equal intervals from each other. This again, finds an analogy in music. 
The device of the equilateral triangle will insure an equal distance be- 
tween our color steps. (Fig. 2.) If we place the triangle with its apex 
on yellow, the position of the two opposite angles, will locate the other 
two colors in our scheme — red and blue (Fig. 2). If we turn the tri- 
angle on a pivot to the left, placing its apex on yellow-orange, we shall 
locate another and more interesting triad, — yellow-orange, red-violet 
and blue-green. Still turning our triangle to the left, we locate the triad 
of binaries, — orange, violet and green. So, in our Journey around the 
dial of the Colors, we can locate several different and very interesting 
groups, all resulting in a Color scheme of triads. The three Colors in 
each group may be used together, in any value or intensity, with white, 
black or neutral gray, and can be depended upon to produce harmony. 

Another means of arriving at a Color scheme that combines in still 
more subtle proportions, thethree elements of Color, is through the use 
of the "Spht Complement." This is also best explained and used by 
means of a device. (Fig. 3.) An isosceles triangle, (a triangle having 
two equal sides), whose base is equal to the distance between the centers 





































of the small Color circles, is placed so that the apex is at violet, for in- 
stance. The Complement of violet is yellow. The position of the two 
opposite angles of the triangle will locate a Color on each side of yellow, 
yellow-orange on the left and yellow-green on the right. The three 
Colors, yellow, yellow-orange, and yellow-green form a "Spht" Comple- 
ment. They contain all the elements of the straight Complement, but in 
different proportions. The less obvious these Color elements are, the 
more "quaUty" do the different tones seem to possess. 

The isosceles, Uke the equilateral, triangle can be made to travel 
around the Color Circle, pointing out the different harmonies of SpUt 
Complements that are possible with the twelve Colors of the chromatic 
circle. In individual or class room practice, the actual presence on the 
Chart of a paper triangle will greatly assist the quick detection of the 
different Colors in these schemes. The experienced designer can no more 
dispense with his Color Chart and its devices than can the musician dis- 
pense with the keyboard of his piano. 


Chapter IX 


THERE are three modes or changes through which a Color may 
pass. Each of these modes affects Color quahty. Therefore, 
we say that Color has three properties, or dimensions, by means 
of which it may be measured, classified, and named. The first 
of these properties we call Hue; the next. Value; the third Intensity. Some 
authorities speak of this third property as "Chroma." 

In Charts VI and VII we may begin at any Color, as yellow, and 
pass by successive changes in Hue to yellow-green, to green, to blue- 
green and so on around the circle. It is the change in Hue that makes 
this passage possible. We can in this way locate any Color, as to its 
Hue, by reference to the Color Chart. 

We have learned, also, that we can make a graded scale of any one 
Color, in its passage from normal to hght, from normal to dark, or from 
the darkest to the hghtest tone of that Color. This property of hght- 
ness or darkness we have learned to call Value. Every Color tone must 
of necessity possess the property of Value, and this quality can also be 
classified and named, by reference to the Value Scale. 

Charts VII and VIII illustrate the third property of Color, — In- 
tensity. In passing from the outer circles in these Charts on a diameter 
to the center, we see that the Color tones grow less bright, less intense. 
This passage from bright to gray is what we mean by Intensity. There 
are as many different degrees of Intensity as the eye can detect. These 
Charts are but sjonbols of the infinite degrees of grayed color, just as the 
Value scale is a symbol of the infinite number of neutral gray tones that 
can be produced. Chart VII shows but three degrees of Intensity of 
each of the six leading Colors. The outer circle of yellow, for example, 
is in full strength, or full Intensity, as we say. Immediately under it is 
a tone of yellow whose brightness is reduced one-half. This we call 
gray-yellow, but if we wished to be scientifically accurate in naming it 


we should call it yellow at one-half intensity. The middle circle of 
Neutral Gray shows what will happen to yellow when its intensity is com- 
pletely neutralized. All of its individuality is gone, and it has become 
neutral gray. 

In previous chapters we have learned that a Color is neutraUzed or 
grayed by the addition of its complement. The schedule of Colors 
placed below the Chromatic Circle in Chart VII gives the proportions 
that were used to produce the grayed tones shown in the column at the 
right. These are the proportions that were used in making the half- 
intense tones in the Color Circle above. 

Chart VIII shows on its outer row of circles all the twelve Colors in 
half-intensity. Six of the Colors have been reduced still more, and are 
shown in one-quarter intensity. All degrees of intensity end in Neutral 

We can produce absolute neutraUty, as we have seen, by mixing 
equal strengths of Complementary Colors. It we add less than an equal 
amount of the complement to a Color, we shall produce some degree 
of grayness of that Color. 

The Color schemes given below the Color Circle in Chart VIII 
show that the laws of Color harmonies exist in grayed tones, just as vitally 
as they do in schemes on intense Colors. We may use Tints and Shades 
of grayed Colors (See Monochromatic Color Schemes, in Chart VIII) 
and obtain beautiful effects. So, in combining the Hues of Color in 
analogous schemes, we may select the grayed instead of the intense 
tones, according to our purpose. The Complementary Colors, grayed, 
are familiar combinations. 

A beginner in the study of Water Color painting once drew a faith- 
ful outhne sketch of a perfect red rose. She desired to color her 
drawing. She painted the flower red, from the red cake of Color in her 
box, and the leaves green. The instructor smiled when he saw her 
work. "Your rose is indeed unlovely," he said. "Put a little green in 
your red and a little red in your green, and you will be sure of harmony." 


Chapter X 

ANY means of expressing or communicating one's thoughts or 
feelings may be called a language. If, in using spoken or writ- 
ten words, we understand the different shades of meaning that 
the wonderful English language represents, we shall be able to 
express our ideas accurately and beautifully. People wOl enjoy our 
speech, if we convey by means of carefully chosen words, exactly the 
ideas that are in our minds. How handicapped we feel, when we can- 
not find words to express our thoughts! In a foreign country, we may be 
greatly em-barrassed because we cannot convey, in the language of the 
realm, an idea of our simplest needs. We cannot ask the way to the 
station, or tell the waiter what we would like to eat, without subjecting 
ourselves to ridicule. Such a situation makes us most uncomfortable. 

So in the realm of Color, we either bungle and jumble, or else we 
hesitate and fail to express ourselves, for fear of making mistakes. Yet 
a knowledge of the marvelous language of Color is within the reach of 
all, and with this knowledge will come a freedom and delight in the use 
of Color. 

All that we have learned in our study of the Color Charts in this 
book will help us to express ideas about Color. Yet there is another 
phase of Color study which the Charts cannot touch. This "inner 
shrine" of Color we may call its psychology. We understand that psy- 
chology in general has to do with spiritual laws rather than with phys- 
ical science. So, quite apart from a consideration of the sources of Color 
and of its component parts, its properties or dimensions and even of its 
harmonies, is the question of the effects that different Colors exert upon 
our feelings and emotions. Why, for instance, is red a more exciting Color 
than blue? Why are orange and yellow stimulating, and blue and green 
quieting? Why do you feel cheered and enhvened by light tones of 
Color and depressed and weighed down by dark tones? Why do we 
speak of some Colors as "warm" and of other Colors as "cool," when 


there is no physical sensation of heat or cold? Why are yellow, orange 
and red called "advancing" colors and blue and violet "retreating" 
colors? All these and many other questions are answered in the study of 
Color psychology. 

The human eye loves Color. Whether they know it or not, all 
people react or respond to the influence of Color, The degree of their 
reaction varies greatly, for some people are naturally much more sensi- 
tive to Color than others. But aU are susceptible to its influence. Color 
has power to attract attention, to stimulate emotion, to cheer and ani- 
mate, or to quiet and subdue. 

Each Color has a meaning. It exerts upon us its own particular 
influence, different from the influence of other Colors. Let us analyze 
a few of the Colors in our Charts, and try to find out something about 
their psychological attributes. 

Of all the Color elements, we can see that yellow most closely re- 
sembles light. We speak of it as "sunny," and we feel its cheerful, 
buoyant personahty. We recall the hopeful forsythia of early spring, 
the cheerful buttercups, the jocund daffodils — immortahzed by Words- 
worth — ^the sunny dandelion and a host of other yellow flowers, bearing a 
particular message of hght and cheer, because they were yellow ! Yellow 
is the symbol of the sun, with its life-giving radiance and its power to 
dispel gloom. Let us remember this psychological quality of yellow, when 
we paint and paper a room that has insufficient light from outside. Any 
Color scheme containing a dominant note of yeUow, as shown in a "trim" 
of ivory white, gray yeUow-orange walls, a creamy ceiling and a hght 
brown rug, will reflect aU the light that comes in through the window 
and will seem to add a certain element of light, all its own. 

Red, the second Color element, gives us the feeling of vitality and 
warmth. It is the symbol of action and of courage. "Called to the 
Colors" is a significant phrase, and we may be sure that the "Colors" 
contain a strong element of red, as in our own flag. Red stimulates 
and excites. When we are stirred with strong emotions, the red blood 
leaps from our hearts and flames in our cheeks. Red is stronger in 
its attractive force than yellow and it suppHes an element of thought of 
heat, which is lacking in yellow. Who has not felt the cockles of his 
heart warm and expand before an open fire? In a room otherwise dark 


and gloomy, it seems a living thing. The people of the house draw near 
to it. The cat curls up before it. The dog draws a long breath of con- 
tent and stretches his head toward it. It is partly the crackle and the 
heat but if is most of all the warm, vital color of the flames that attracts 
and cheers us. Mr. Gilbert K. Chesterton has expressed our attitude to- 
ward an open fire in these characteristic words: 

"A queer fancy seems to be current that an open fire exists to warm 
people! It exists to warm their hearts, to Ught their darkness, to raise 
their spirits, to toast their muffins, to air their rooms, to cook their chest- 
nuts, to tell stories to their children, to make checkered shadows on their 
walls, to boil their hurried kettles, and to be the red heart of a man's 
house and hearth, for which as the great heathen said, a man should 

We can easily see why it is that red is called a "warm" Color, and 
why all Colors that contain red as a constituent seem to be warmed by 
its presence. Therefore, in our costumes and furnishings we should 
remember the psychology of red. Too much of it, as in a bright red 
waist or coat, will render the wearer unpleasantly conspicuous, and 
might irritate to a dangerous degree a person of super-sensitive temper- 
ament! In a room where much coziness and warmth is desired, as in 
a library, red tones might with discretion, be employed; but in a din- 
ing room already warmed by light from south windows, red as a dom- 
inating factor in the color scheme would be disastrous, especially on a 
hot day! 

The third element of Color, blue, has a distinct individuahty. It is 
not sunny, it is not warm, it is not aggressive. Blue is everything which 
red and yellow are not. It is cold, quiet and reserved. We speak of 
the icy, blue stillness of the far North; of cold, steely blue eyes; of having 
"the blues" when we are conscious of a lack of enthusiasm over life's 
affairs. Blue, as we have learned, neutralizes, or grays its opposite, 
orange. Blue is modest and retiring, like the blue forget-me-not and 
the fringed gentian that only blooms in secluded places. Because of 
its quietness and restraint, blue has a large place in our schemes of house 
furnishing, costuming and commercial designing. It is a balance wheel 
for yeUow and red. Often we desire to furnish a room in every quiet 
tones, as in a bedroom; or we need a room of extreme formahty, as a 


parlor for state occasions or a drawing room. In such instances, we 
may well select blue as the dominating note in our scheme. 

Since the three elementary Colors are so different in their effect 
upon our emotions, it is interesting to see the psychological result of mix- 
tures. The Binary Colors may be cited as examples. Orange is not so 
light as yeUow, nor so aggressive as red, yet it partakes of the nature of 
both yeUow and red. It has strong decorative quality, and it is of 
course classed with the warm colors. A small amount of intense orange, 
such as is supplied by a bowl of nasturtiums, a bit of embroidery or a 
piece of pottery will often redeem a room that is too blue, or too mon- 
otonously brown. But it, hke any other intense color must be controlled 
and balanced by large areas of subdued color tones. 

Green, the combination of yellow and blue, shows the psychological 
tendencies of both components. It is hghter and more cheerful than 
blue, in effect, and has more dignity and repose than yeUow. Green is 
restful to the eyes and nerves, is a rehef from the warmth and heat of the 
summer sun, and is not depressing. In a south room, where there is 
more than a necessary amount of light and heat, green hangings and 
furnishings are most agreeable. 

Violet is a combination of the vital aggressive Color, red, and the 
cold and dignified color blue. In equal quantities, these forces very nearly 
neutralize each other, but according to the predominance of red or blue, 
violet may be warm or cold, in its effect. Violet is the Color that is 
nearest to black, in value, and in its influence on our feehngs. We can 
understand its use as "half-mourning." Violet and purple have al- 
ways been associated with royal majesty, and have been accepted as the 
sign of imperial power. The toga of the Emperor in ancient Rome, or 
of any conqueror, in the day of his triumph, was purple. Violet in its 
darker tones denotes seriousness or solemnity. In its tints, which we call 
"lavender," "lilac," etc. there is a distinctly feminine quahty marked by 
delicacy and refinement. It is perhaps less used decoratively, than any 
other color. 

Starting with yellow at the top, the Colors of the chromatic circle 
fall into two groups; the warm colors on the left, arid the cool colors 
on the right. We see, then, that certain groups of Analogous Colors, as 
yellow-orange, orange, and red-orange, will produce effects that are like 


these colors, — warm, rich, aggressive and of compelhng force. Other 
groups, such as blue-green, blue and blue-violet, wiU produce effects 
that are like them, — quiet, restful, serene. Certain groups, as the Com- 
plementary pairs, will present both warm and cool elements, as orange 
and blue. With such definite knowledge as this, we should be able to 
"prescribe" color schemes for different purposes and occasions, and to 
do so with intelhgence and with confidence as to results. 


Chapter XI 

TO reach its highest use, Art must be practical. Unless we can, 
apply our knowledge of Color to the common activities of life, 
we miss the largest benefit and the greatest joy that such knowl- 
edge can give. The clothes that we wear proclaim our knowl- 
edge or our ignorance of the laws of Color harmonies, for clothes cannot 
be separated from Color, and we must of necessity select, buy and wear 
them. Although the question of Color is by no means unimportant in its 
relation to the clothes worn by men, we shall discuss first the question 
of Color as an element in the costumes of women. 

In planning or selecting a costume for a woman, the first consider- 
ation is the person herself. Is she tall or short, stout or slender, dark- 
skinned or light, full-colored or pale, with dark, light or "middle" hair? 
What is her temperament? Is she aggressive, retiring, positive or nega- 
tive, vivacious or sedate? 

After these questions have been settled, we may bring out our Color 
Chart, and try to relate our knowledge of Color harmonies to our sub- 
ject. Every costume is in the beginning a problem in design, and one of 
the most important factors in the problem is the question of Color. We 
shall find that aU of the scientific facts that we have accumulated about 
Color will come to our aid, and will help us to arrive at a safe conclusion. 

One of the first harmonies of which we learned was the harmony 
resulting from the combination of one intense Color with white, black 
or gray. Let us see how this applies to costume. 

As a general proposition, white is becoming to the ^eat majority of 
people, and black is unbecoming th just as many. The reason for this 
is that white does not absorb color, and when worn next to the face, white 
permits the skin, the eyes, the hair, to appear at their full color value. 
For this reason, white makes a charming setting for the face, the hair, 
the eyes. The whole head becomes the center of interest. This is as it 
should be, for costume should act as a foil, to enhance attractiveness of 


the face, which is the seat of personaUty. Black does just the opposite. 
It soaks up or absorbs Color, and robs the complexion of its subtle Color 
tones, leaving it pale and gray. We should dismiss from our minds, 
forever, the idea that black is particularly suitable for people whose 
coloring is light toned, faded or gray. These are the very persons who 
should avoid black, next to the face, or in large quantities, in a cos- 
tume. For them there are the beautiful gradations of colors, shown in 
Chart VIII, whose relationships to each other and to the wearer are so 
interesting and so important. The truth is that if black costumes are to 
be worn at all, it should be by persons of brilliant coloring, whose glow- 
ing faces, bright eyes and shining hair can more successfully combat 
the depredations of the robber black! 

Black and white when used together in a costume create the strongest 
possible contrast if employed in equal or nearly equal quantities. This 
makes the wearer most conspicuous. But a touch of black or white, or 
both, wiU often give accent or emphasis to a costume that might other- 
wise be tame. In a dark costume, a white collar will aid in attracting 
interest to the face, where interest should center. White gloves and 
shoes worn with a dark gown or coat wiU also attract the eye to those 
extremities. It is true that white shoes and a white feather on the hat 
wiU increase the apparent height of a figure, when worn with a dark 
costume, for the eye seeks out the patches of white and establishes its 
own hne between them. Strong contrasts of Values or of Color tones 
always puU the eye in their direction, and must be used, in costume de- 
sign, with the truth of this statement borne in mind. 

In choosing a Color scheme for a costume, one should endeavor to 
determine her own personal scheme of Colors, — that which was given 
her by Nature — and she should build upon this as a foundation. Sup- 
pose, for example, that I have dark brown hair, dark eyes and a "dark" 
complexion. I am to be classed with the family of "oranges," for aU 
browns are grayed tones of oranges and reds. I must turn, then, to 
Chart VIII, and look for suggestions for my costume at the lovely grayed 
yellow-oranges, oranges, and red-oranges. The law of complemen- 
tary Colors teUs me that I may also cross the circle and browse among 
the blues, the blue-greens and the blue-violets, possibly. My Value 
scale reminds me that there are many Tints and Shades of both oranges 


and blues, and so, according to my requirements, I may choose a light 
toned costume from these Colors for evening wear, a dark toned for 
street and business, or a middle toned for my spring suit. To relieve 
the monotony of these solid tones, I may choose trimmings or accessories 
of intense Color. These I may wear in my hat, in jewels, in bright em- 
broidery, in a string of beads, or in a bag. I am also free to use white or 
black, or both with any of these tones. Furs may also be made to help 
me in my problem. They may be white or black or toned with my 
costume, according to its needs. 

If my eyes are blue and my hair is yellow, I may probably identify 
myself with the Complementary pair yellow and violet, or with any 
Analogous schemes containing these two Colors, although I must always 
remember that the Color and quality of my skin has fully as much to 
do with selecting a Color scheme as does the Color of eyes and hair. If 
my hair is auburn or reddish, I must remember the effect of green upon 
these warm shades. I know I shall be safe in "toning" my costume with 
my hair, and in selecting accessories and "notes" that will reheve my 
costume, and keep it from monotony. Thus does the Color Chart come 
to my aid, when I am seeking to solve the ever present and always inter- 
esting problem of dress. 

Light tones of all Colors indicate cheerfulness, gayety, youthful- 
ness, and buoyancy. This is why we instinctively select hght values for 
evening wear. Middle values of the grayed Colors as a substitute for 
dark blues, greens and browns are sought by those who know how to 
tempt youth to linger beyond its appointed time, and white is seen to 
play an important part in the "make-up" of these costumes. 

A Color is emphasized, frequently by the presence of a touch of 
the same Color in another part of the costume. Eyes that are blue, but 
too light, may be deepened by a touch of blue trimming near the face. 
Jewels and beads may be used to bring out latent color in this way. A 
color that is much grayed can be enhvened by an accent of its comple- 
ment. A light neutral gray or a white dress makes a background against 
which any jewel or any Color can be worn with fine effect. 

The rigid conventions that control the costumes of men make it 
almost impossible to express any but the most limited Color harmonies in 
the selection of their clothes. Black, dark blue, brown and a variety of 


sober grays are almost the only choices that are open to men. In sum- 
mer a wider range is offered in the various Hght grays, tan and white 
materials. The vogue for these lighter tones has greatly increased of 
late. This is much to be desired, for what has been said regarding the 
general effect of hght tones upon the wearer applies to men as well as to 
women. If the introduction of a wider range of "lively" gray mixtures 
in suits for men's general wear could be accomplished, another step in the 
right direction would be taken. At present, a man may express his ap- 
preciation of Color harmony only in the choice of his scarf. Limited 
though his opportunities may be, the principles of color harmony, hereto- 
fore explained, should be followed. A man is always judged by the 
tie that he wears! 



Chapter XII 

A DEPARTMENT store in a large town recently displayed in 
a show window a number of so-called Japanese vases. They 
were about fourteen inches high, of fairly good proportion 
and they were decorated. The decorations were of the "decad- 
ent" Japanese type, made for the American market. They consisted of 
realistic pictures of birds, flowers, butterflies, fishes, clouds, mountains 
and a variety of landscape effects, painted on backgrounds of "shaded" 
red, violet, green and other colors. A card in the window conveyed the 
information that these vases would be sold at the opening hour on a cer- 
tain day at the astoundingly low price of one doUar! Long before the 
hour designated, the sidewalk in front of the store was crowded with 
would-be buyers. When the doors swung open, the people rushed to the 
sale counters and each seized as many of the vases as he could carry, 
eager to pay his money for what he considered beautiful. A teacher of 
Art, who had seen the display in the window and had hoped that the 
vases would find few purchasers, was much discouraged that the stand- 
ards of the public taste proved to be so low. 

"How can these people Hke them?" she said. "For years we have 
taught Art in the schools, probably to these very people, and apparently 
we have made no impression on them." 

The friend to whom she expressed her disappointment remarked 
that the case was not so hopeless as it seemed. 

"It would be worse if they had no interest whatever in vases," he 
said. "They are wiUing to pay their dollars for what to them is beauti- 
ful. What they need is training and instruction, that their standards may 
be raised. That is the important thing. Our instruction in the past has 
not equipped these people to discriminate between good and bad design, 
nor to analyze color schemes. They have no standards other than real- 
isim, and they see no reason why reahsm, so beautiful in nature, is not 
also beautiful upon these vases." 


The people who bought the unlovely vases expressed by their act 
their ignorance. Every purchaser of any article inevitably expresses 
himself. Our clothes, our houses, the things with which we surround our- 
selves, speak eloquently of what we are. We cannot disguise our stand- 
ards of taste. It is of the utmost importance to us as individuals, and to 
America as a Nation, that our abUity to appreciate the good in any 
manufactured object or commodity be constantly trained and developed 
so that our standards of taste both as individuals and as a Nation, may 
become better and better, as we know more about beauty. 

The instinct for a beautiful home is present in all of us. If this 
instinct is guided and developed, a vast improvement in the homes of 
the people will result. "I have always felt" said the great Enghsh 
statesman, DisraeU, "that the best security for civilization is in the 
dwelling; and that upon properly appointed and becoming dwellings 
depend more than anything else the improvement of mankind." 

A definite knowledge of the properties, the harmonies and the psy- 
chology of Color is nowhere more useful than in house furnishing. 
When ought one to use warm Colors, what wiU be the effect of cool Col- 
ors, where are advancing Colors desirable, what is the function of retreat- 
ing Colors, what scheme should be used in a north bedroom or in a sunny 
dining room, or reversely, in a north dining room and in a sunny bed- 
room, what Colors will cause a room to look larger, what colors will stim- 
ulate, what colors will soothe, where should light values be used and 
what would be the effect of placing dark values in their places? All 
these questions can be settled through the intelligent use of Color in its 
relation to the furnishing of our houses. 

Most people understand that curtains, rugs and the upholstery of 
furniture are important Color factors in house furnishing; but they do 
not always consider that the Color a room already has, before a single 
atom of "furnishing" is put in it, has a great deal to do with the ultimate 
effect. The Color tones of walls, floors, ceihng, woodwork or trim, 
lighting fixtures and window shades are quite as important elements in 
the creation of a harmonious room interior as are the "brought in" fur- 
nishings. Also, there is the question of location, as affecting the Hght 
from outside. North windows will bathe the room in cool, blue light, 
while the light that enters from south windows will be yellow or golden 


in tone. A knowledge of Color, not only of Color harmonies, but of other 
properties of Color, will help to solve the problem of properly furnish- 
ing the different rooms in our houses. Perhaps no other Color "law" 
will be a better foundation for us to build on than the law of backgrounds, 
for a room is really a background or a series of backgrounds created 
for the sole purpose of providing a setting for the various phases of 
family life. 

The walls of a room are obviously a background against which must 
be seen the furniture, the pictures, the hangings and, last but not least, 
the people who live in the room. Therefore the walls must occupy a 
subordinate place, — not unimportant, but subordinate. 

Dark backgrounds tend to make a room look smaller and light 
tones seem to make the walls expand. In Color tones, the walls should 
be related to the trim, the furniture and the hangings. Warm tans or 
grayed tints of orange are harmonious with chestnut or other brown 
tones of wood. Grey-green walls, in Kght value might be used with 
greenish tones of wood or paint. White walls seem to reflect light and 
are trying to the eyes, besides creating too violent contrasts between fur- 
niture, rugs, etc. Intense Colors should never be used upon walls, as they 
should always be more subdued than the shapes which are seen against 

In choosing waU papers, a quiet tone or pattern showing little or 
no contrast in values is better than a paper showing a decided pattern; 
a light figure on a dark background, or the reverse. As walls are always 
to be flat, any treatment that disturbs or interferes with the effect of flat- 
ness is to be avoided. For this reason, reahstic roses, trailing vines or 
vistas of landscapes on our walls are evidences of ignorance. 

Floors are subject to the general laws that govern backgrounds. 
Floors are to be walked on and any decorative element that suggests the 
opposite of flatness is a transgression of the law. This settles the question 
of realistic garlands, roses, water Ulies in pond, animals, etc., on rugs and 
carpets. Sharp contrasts of Hght and dark should also be avoided here, 
as these effects attract undue attention and appear to make the rug or 
carpet "come up" from the floor. In general Value the floor covering 
should be darker than the walls, and in Hue or Color tone it should be 
related to the walls and to the furnishing. 


The ceiling should be distinctly hghter than the walls but it should 
be related to them in tone — ^for example, a cream or hght buff ceiling 
should be used with tan or light gray orange walls. The presence of a 
common Color in floor, woodwork, walls and ceiling will bring them 
into harmonious relationship. For instance, in a scheme showing brown- 
ish tones in the floor, ivory white trim, light gray orange walls and a 
cream white ceiling, yellow is the common factor. A common factor 
such as this, is, in all color schemes, the great harmonizer. Such a 
setting is warm, bright and cheerful, and could be used with brown, 
green or orange rugs and hangings. 

In a room with dark oak or chestnut trim, the walls should be re- 
lated either by using gray tints of orange or its Complement, blue. With 
mahogany or reddish woodwork, either a warm gray or greenish tones 
are best. If one Color is taken as a tonal scheme, as in aU monochro- 
matic harmonies, the presence of a note of its Complement wiU relieve 
the otherwise too monotonous effect. For example, a "blue" room whose 
trim was painted gray blue, whose walls were hght gray blue, and whose 
ceiling was a pale tint of gray blue was "saved" by the addition of cur- 
tains of unbleached mushn with bands of orange and blue cretonne, and 
a rug showing orange and blue in its patterns. In this room a bowl of 
nasturtiums or a jar of marigolds always seemed to be the crowning note 
of the decorative scheme. 

In interior decorations, white and gray with all their subtle varia- 
tions, as in cream, buff, ecru, hght gray, orange, hght gray green, light 
gray red, hght gray blue, etc., are "safe and sane" tones to use in rooms 
where hght effects are desired. Woodwork may be painted in these tones, 
wall papers may be found that show these Colors in patterns that do not 
vary greatly in values, rugs are obtainable that present these Colors in 
darker shades and ceilings may be calcimined in tones that faintly re- 
flect this general scheme of walls and trim. 

A principle of house furnishing that should be more generally ob- 
served is this: AU wall spaces in a room should be treated as so many 
flat shapes or rectangles. The effect of a room with no furniture in it 
should be quiet and dignified. This effect we must aim to preserve when 
the furniture is placed. We may add, up to a certain point, hghting fix- 
tures, hangings, and the various accessories necessary to the function of the 


room, but we must always maintain the "balance" of the room. Bal- 
ance is destroyed by the bringing in of too many details, such as pictures, 
photographs, bric-a-brac, cushions, flags, draperies, etc. No Color har- 
mony can compete with such an array of fussy detail. 

Possible the most difficult effect to secure in a room is personahty, 
or "atmosphere." We do not look for this in hotel bedrooms or ban- 
quet haUs, nor in railway stations. Yet aU of these pubHc places may 
be beautiful in color harmony and admirably fitted to their function. 
But in a home the personahty of the individual, or the family should 
always be expressed. This will inevitably result when personal choice 
and personal "likes" are controlled by the observance of the laws of Color 

Our houses always express us. If we are indifferent to the beauty 
of orderly arrangement and of Color harmony, they wiU show it. If we 
use what we have in the best way that is possible for those things to be 
used, our houses will bear witness to our love of order and to our feeling 
for and knowledge of beauty. 


Chapter XIII 

WHEN we think of Color as a factor in commerce, the impres- 
sion of a poster flashes into our minds. The wonderful part 
that posters are playing in these stirring times needs only 
to be mentioned in order to be conceded. We are living 
in what may be termed a "seeing" age. Books are no longer the chief 
means of distributing knowledge. Even the lecture platform and the 
pulpit employ the moving picture as a quick and sure means of convey- 
ing ideas. We stiQ read the newspapers and we are sure to look at the 
cartoon of the day as expressing a definite idea, of great interest in 
simple direct terms. It is a picture language, reduced to the lowest 
terms, and it is universally understood. The cartoon thus is classified 
with the poster, which, because of its simplicity, its directness and its 
color attraction, "hits the point" with swift precision. 

Our government has learned to use posters in assembling armies, in 
inducing the people to save countless tons of food, in raising biUions in 
money, in stirring all classes of men and women to high pledges of pa- 
triotism. It is the poster which has burned the beautiful symbol of the 
Red Cross into the consciousness of the peoples of all nations. 

Recently the United States government undertook the task of dis- 
tributing throughout Russia certain propaganda planned to influence the 
people of that country toward the ideals of Democracy. Extracts from 
great speeches and other writings which set forth the exalted aims of Free- 
dom and Justice were gathered together. The best means of getting 
these thoughts and ideas into the minds of tiie Russian peoples was ear- 
nestly and thoroughly discussed. The futility of attempting to reach the 
masses through the newspapers of the country was immediately ac- 
knowledged. Russian peasants, as a rule, cannot read; hence the news- 
papers have Uttle attraction for them. The plan of erecting immense 
billboards was finally hit upon. In hundreds of the cities and towns of 
Russia these great screens were constructed, and the messages, quota- 


tions and slogans which had been selected were translated into the Rus- 
sian language, printed on twenty-four sheet posters and mounted upon 
the boards. Sometimes the text was used with appropriate decorations, 
and sometimes the screen presented only an arrangement of type, but al- 
ways the element of Color was present. It is reported that these bill- 
boards created a decided sensation throughout Russia. Crowds of peo- 
ple gathered about them. Those who could read, told the less fortu- 
nate what the posters said. Thus was conveyed to all classes, learned and 
illiterate, the sympathy and friendship of the United States of America 
for all people who struggle for freedom. The poster with its dominat- 
ing size, brilliant color and wide distribution, accomplishes quickly 
what the spoken, written or printed message would utterly fail to do. 

In America, advertising by posters was probably started by the cir- 
cus. We recall the pictures of gigantic size which were posted upon 
the billboards, barns and on any other available spaces on buildings, 
announcing that the circus with its marvels was coming to town. The 
pictures were as reahstic as they could be made. They showed ele- 
phants from the jungle, camels from the desert, polar bears on icebergs, 
buffaloes from the plains or a crouching tiger ready to spring upon its 
prey. They were crude in color, poor in drawing, and showed no sense 
of composition or arrangement, yet they fulfilled the first and most im- 
portant function of the poster — they attracted attention, exciting interest 
and made people anxious to go to the circus! 

It was not long before manufacturers and merchants adopted the 
pictorial method of bringing their wares to the attention of the public. 
Soon "Bixby's Best Blacking" appeared in posters that showed a pair 
of boots, in whose shining surfaces were reflected the complacent coun- 
tenance of the bootblack. As a result of these pictures, no doubt, vast 
quantities of "Bixby's Best" were sold. 

The drawing, the composition and the coloring of these early post- 
ers were very crude. People of refined taste objected strongly to the 
display of so low a grade of Art upon the streets and along the avenues 
of commerce. Gradually, in response to a demand for better things, im- 
provement was noticeable in posters. Designers discovered that simple, 
flat shapes and a few colors well arranged could be seen farther than 
shapes that were treated to represent details of surface in realistic colors. 


hence the fact was estabUshed that the decorative treatment of shapes 
and colors was better than the pictorial or realistic treatment for the 
advertiser's purpose. 

The billboards of today, which we acknowledge are the great pubHc 
news carriers, are rapidly becoming great pubhc Art galleries as well, for 
some of the most dignified and serious Art work of our country, as weU 
as of other countries, is now expressed through posters. Great progress 
has also been made in the invention of non-fading inks of fine color 
quality and in the manufacture of a certain poster paper which sheds 
water and with a surface that is adapted to the printing of large masses 
of inks. The people are much interested in Poster Art, and when the 
people appreciate and encourage the work of good designers, the prod- 
ucts are sure to be of high merit. 

The importance of Color as a factor in Commercial Design is ob- 
vious. Can we imagine a poster without Color? Can we question the 
importance of an understanding, on the part of the poster designer, of 
the various properties and attributes of Color? A man in business may 
scoff at the suggestion that a knowledge of the laws of Color harmony 
is necessary for the fuU enjoyment of his home, or he may ridicule the 
idea that his necktie is a criterion by which his esthetic station in hfe may 
be designated, but he will Usten with respectful attention when he is told 
that certain colors, scientifically considered, have more power to attract 
than other colors. He can understand that this kind of Color knowl- 
edge will bring in returns, in terms of dollars and cents. If a poster 
which advertises the wares that he offers for sale attracts more atten- 
tion than the poster used by a competitor, he is convinced that Art, or 
at least that phase of Art which affects posters, has practical value. He 
sees that Art may be made to serve a commercial purpose and for that 
reason he is wiUing to invest in it. 

The first function of a poster is fulfilled when people are compelled 
to look at it. If a poster fails to induce the eye to rest upon it, it "might 
as well not be, as be." Through the flash of Color, the eye is first at- 
tracted. If the fleeting glance registers a thrill, the eye looks again, 
notes the shape of the Color and pauses to read the short, crisp text. So, 
like the click that registers the taking of the kodak picture, the idea goes 
home, and the work of the poster is accomplished. 


The poster designer must understand not only the principles of col- 
or harmony, but he must know the psychology of Color as well. He 
must appreciate the fact that a poster which sets forth the attractions of 
a summer resort in Maine, should not show the same Color scheme as 
a poster which advertises a winter cruise in the Mediterranean. He 
must know which colors are "advancing" and which are "retreating" 
in their effect upon the eye and mind. He must understand that dignity 
and seriousness, lightness and joy, tragedy and sorrow, may be suggested 
by Colors, as well as by words. He must realize that a poster must in 
the last analysis be beautiful as well as forceful, in order to perform its 
most effective work. 

Poster effects are used in may places. Not only on billboards do 
we observe a flat, simple treatment of strong pure Color. We see it in 
other forms, common in commercial usage — ^in book covers, post cards, 
poster stamps, box covers, labels, display cards, and in magazine covers 
and advertisements. In all these forms, the best is always that which 
makes the strongest appeal, in a beautiful harmony. We must not forget 
that harmony is possible through the use of pure colors. It is a dif- 
ficult problem to bring pure, intense colors into harmonious relationship, 
but it is by no means impossible of solution. 

A stranger in a western town paused before the window of a shoe 
store, not because she was interested in shoes at that time, but because 
she saw in that window as beautiful an arrangement of Color harmonies 
as is presented in many a picture. There was nothing in that window 
but shoes and a paper background. The lady was astonished that so 
prosaic an article could be the means of expressing so interesting a Color 
scheme. The fact was evident that an intelUgent mind had thought out 
the scheme and had arranged the display. People paused to look at 
it because it was different from other shoe displays and they went away 
thinking that the window was interesting and beautiful. Perhaps they did 
not know why. It would have given them an added interest if they had 
understood. The background and floor of the window were covered with 
violet and white striped paper. A number of packing boxes had been 
utilized as stands at different levels for the shoes to rest upon, and these 
also were covered with violet and white paper. Against this background 
were arranged dozens of pairs of shoes, every size and kind being repre- 


sented, except that they were restricted as to Color, for they were all 
either white, black or tan. The three colors were so distributed that a 
balanced composition of black, white and yellow (tan) against a violet 
and white background was created. Thus the law of Complementary 
harmony was observed, with the addition of the neutrals black and 
white, which suppHed the "snap" and "punch" that are indispensable 
in any advertising arrangement. The stranger entered the store to con- 
gratulate the owner upon the success of his window and being in the 
store she remembered that she needed a pair of rubbers. It is not hkely 
that her purchase was the only one that resulted from the attractive ar- 
rangement in the window. The show dealer's primary object was not 
to present a Color harmony for the satisfaction of the esthetic eye, but 
to sell shoes. He used the striking Color harmony only as a means of 
compelling some passer-by to look, and looking, the possible buyer reg- 
istered in his mind a favorable impression of this dealer's shoes. 

In Commercial Design the law of backgrounds must be observed as 
strictly as in the furnishing of a room. The background must be always 
less intense in color than the shapes that are placed against it. The rea- 
son for this is plain. Attention is to be called not to the background, but 
to the shapes of objects and to the words that are printed on the back- 
ground. If, on a background of intense orange were printed shapes in 
blue, brown and gray, the background would assert itself more strongly 
than the shapes. If the order were reversed and the blue, orange and 
brown shapes were seen against a gray background, the shapes would 
"hold their own" without conflict. If we understand then, that "re- 
treating" Colors and grayed tones are best for backgrounds, and that "ad- 
vancing" Colors are to be selected for those shapes to which we desire 
to call attention, we shall be sure of a principle that it will be safe to 

Strong contrasts of dark and light, even in a Monochromatic scheme 
will always attract the eye. Light shapes against dark, or dark against 
light, will strengthen a poster's appeal. This is the very effect we wish 
to avoid in a rug, however. A too Hght border or shape will overbal- 
ance a large area of tones that are subtle in their relationship. When 
we know the law we can obey it intelligently, and find in its observance 
the greatest satisfaction. 


There is another quaUty of Color most important to the commercial 
designer, and that is the quaUty which we call Luminosity. A luminous 
Color reflects and even seems to emit Hght. Certain luminous Colors 
strongly suggest hght. Of all Colors in the Chromatic Circle, yellow is 
the most nearly hke actual Hght. It is the carrying, penetrating color 
and when mixed with red, which gives it depth and strength, the re- 
sultant Color, orange, can be seen at a greater distance than any other 
color. This is the reason that the so-called red hghts (which are reaUy 
red-orange) are used as railway signals. Light shining through a yel- 
low or orange shade wiU pierce farther into the darkness than hght 
which shines through clear glass or through a green or blue glass. A 
green lamp shade is restful to the reader because it reduces the inten- 
sity of white Hght, but it does not Hght the room so weU. Again, a yel- 
low, orange or red shade placed around artificial Hght sends a warm, 
becoming glow over the people who come under the influence, while the 
unbecomingness of the greenish Hght which proceeds from green shades 
is well known. 

When we add yeUow the most luminous color, to red, the most warm 
and vital color, we produce orange, which is perhaps the most attractive, 
far reaching and compelling Color known. It does not excite or stimu- 
late to the point of irritation as red does, but it has Just enough of the 
red quahty to attract and hold the attention. For this reason, orange in 
some intensity or value is used on nearly every poster that is made, for 
those shapes where the interest is intended to be centered. 

AU Colors possess in varying degrees the quaHty of luminosity. We 
may even speak of a luminous blue, although blue is very low in the 
scale of luminosity. The order of colors in their degree of Luminosity 
may be stated as follows: yellow, orange, green, red, blue and violet. 

All that we can learn about Color, its properties, its harmonies, its 
psychology, its mission as a universal language to express and to convey 
definite ideas and impressions can be appHed to every activity of life. 
Thus in our effort to educate the people, so that they may be fitted to 
the times in which they Hve, contributing their part to civflization, and 
enjoying the fullness, usefulness, and beauty of a weU rounded develop- 
ment, instruction in the Science and Art of Color should play an import- 
ant part. 




The most authoritative work on "Color" issued in this country. Illustrated with hand-painted 
"Color Charts" of great value. Large quarto, price, $4.50. 

"ART SIMPLIFIED" (Revised Edition) 

A book of practical instruction in Art for advertisers, commercial artists, teachers and students- 
Twenty-two full-page plates, 175 pages. Price, $4.25. 


By THOMAS WOOD STEVENS, of Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh 
The standard work on the subject for students and artists. One hundred ten full-page plates. 
Large quarto, price, $3.25. 


The secret of the art told by a successful cartoonist, with many examples of the work of other 
prominent artists. Price, S2.10. 


These "Pencil Sketching Portfolios," Nos. 1 and 2, contain drawings which have been specially 
designed for students of pencil technique. Each Portfolio contains 15 plates. Price, each, $1.75. 


By HENRY TURNER BAILEY, Director Cleveland School of Art 
Interpretations which cannot fail to stimulate interest in the world's masterpieces. Large quarto, 
price, $3.00. 


The most comprehensive single volume on the subject, comprising 394 pages with 318 illustra- 
tions. Price, $4.50. 


A practical handbook, giving full information for "Batik" dyeing and "tie-dyeing" or. various 
fabrics. Beautifully illustrated. Price, $2.00. 


Gives full directions for innumerable uses of "Permodello," the permanent Modeling Clay, which 
sets like concrete without firing. Beautifully illustrated. Price, $1.60. 



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